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The Technology

Tap and Bore (TAB) Sealing

The key building block for new wet mateable connectors as reliable as existing wet mate connectors on the market today.

The patented TAB seals are incredibly simple one-piece devices consisting of an elastomeric wall perforated orthogonally by a shaped crescentic cut. When the seal is penetrated, the ‘tap’ is displaced axially out of the ‘bore’ by the penetrating object. When the penetrating object is withdrawn, the uncut portion provides a substantial elastic force to immediately return the tap to its at-rest position within the bore. Flared ends of the tap aid in sealing, then wiping the bore clean as the tap returns to its unpenetrated position.

TAB seals are compact, simple, and reliable means for sealably penetrating fluid chambers. Connectors are as reliable as existing “spring and stopper” technology that is commonly used in the industry today.

Click on the diagram to enlarge
If the current state-of-the-art products
are so reliable, why do we need new ones?
Fewer Parts
Lower Cost
Ability to Miniaturize
Easy to manufacture
with commercially-
available components

Higher Circuit Count

Design Flexibility

TAB Sealing vs Traditional Spring and Stopper Sealing:

A comparison
TAB Seal Spring and Stopper
Pressure-balanced, oil-filled Yes Yes
Number of internal components 2 Many
Mating force Low High
Able to be miniaturized Yes No
Cost $ $$$$
Average Size Compact Bulky

Solution Categories

The Pontus Subsea Connectors (PSC) technology permits a broad enough spectrum of innovations to compete across many aspects of the harsh-environment interconnect business.

Some of the product categories available through Pontus employ the breakthrough Tap and Bore (TAB) seal technology. Each category describes a technological advancement from which complete families of revolutionary products can be developed. Each of the connectors described below are wet mateable.

Dual-Chamber Optical, and Hybrid Connectors

Contains both plug and receptacle contacts in closed chambers of benign fluid even when disconnected.

Stinger: 5 Circuit Hybrid Electrical / Optical
A remarkably small, dual-chamber connector that can be deployed in any subsea or wet-zone environment. It employs TAB end-seals on both plug and receptacle fluid chambers. It’s described herein as a five-circuit hybrid connector that can contain any mix of electrical or optical contacts. There’s nothing even remotely like it currently on the market.
Foxhole: Single Mode Optical Connector
A small, lightweight, dual chamber connector that can be deployed in both terrestrial and at-sea battlefield arenas, as well as in other harsh environments such as for use in weatherized commercial fiber-optic networks, or for sewer or pipeline inspection.

Single Chamber Electrical Connectors

Workhorse: 3 Way Electrical Connector

Tough, rigid-shelled products employing cylindrical pins and redundant TAB receptacle end-seals. They are intended to compete in seafloor well-completion systems and other rugged applications with existing high reliability fluid-filled connectors. Workhorse can be less expensive to manufacture and more compact than products with similar specifications currently on the market.

Gel Filled Connectors

Combines high fluid-filled reliability with low rubber molded cost.

An exciting new category of underwater connectors that combine high fluid-filled reliability with low rubber-molded cost. Products of this family could displace existing connectors across a broad segment of potential applications currently filled by both rubber molded and oil-filled connectors. Gelcon is a single-chamber connector wherein the receptacle pressure compensation is partially provided by a gel component. The plug portion of the connector consists of a very standard construction wherein the cable end and plug pins are overmolded by a substantially dielectric elastomer such as neoprene.

Blade Connectors

Low power, harsh environment hand-mateable connectors.

Developed for general low-power, harsh environment use. In its present embodiment the single-chamber connector houses four blade-like plug pins with insulated shafts and conductive tips. The receptacle has electrical contacts nested in individual fluid chambers all within another overall fluid chamber. Each mated contact pair is protected by at least two benign fluid barriers and two insulative elastomeric barriers.
Hermes Spring and Nipple Sealing

Each Hermes end-seal slit passes through a unique, patented inward projecting sleeve that is kinked (not pinched) shut by a light leaf spring when not engaged with an entering pin. The kink immediately seals the slit.

Cable Terminations

Simple, smaller and less expensive than fluid-filled, field-installable terminations available today.

Pontus Subsea Connectors Terminations
The PSC termination is price competitive with common overmolded or potted terminations, require no process steps involving chemicals or polymer curing and require no special clean-room conditions to install. They can easily be terminated aboard ship in normal at-sea conditions.

Boot Seals

Inverted Boot Seal
The junction where individual cable conductors are attached to a connector’s contacts is a critical point in any harsh environment cable/connector assembly. Patented PSC inverted boot-seals also stretch back over a segment of the junction between the wire and the socket into which it is soldered, and thence further backward over a portion of the wire jacket. They differ from prior-art boot-seals in that instead of sealing to a protruding nipple, they seal into a smooth-bore socket in the connector’s base.
Breakout Boot Seal
Cable-end boot-seals that permit individual conductors within jacketed cables to be sealably broken out of the cables are well known in many terrestrial and offshore industries. In subsea interconnect assemblies, for instance, they are frequently used within oil-filled junction boxes or connector-to-cable terminations to seal against leakage of chamber oil into the cables. Such leakage can result in collapse of the oil-filled portion of the assembly and catastrophic failure. The PSC patented breakout boot-seal solves the displacement problem through two mechanisms: one is the incorporation of a grip washer within the elastomeric body of the seal; the other is a re-routing of overpressure within the seal to harmlessly exit the rear end of the seal.
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